In 2017, Scottish Government published The National Missing Persons Framework for Scotland, which puts Scotland firmly ahead of the curve in its approach to safeguarding and supporting missing people.
The Framework exists as good practice guidance for professionals who are working with and supporting missing people and their families.
The Framework’s aims are to prevent people from going missing in the first place, and limit the harm associated with people going missing.
These aims are broken down into four objectives; prevent, respond, support and protect:
Objective 1: To introduce preventative measures to reduce the number of missing person episodes
Objective 2: To respond consistently and appropriately to missing persons episodes
Objective 3: To provide the best possible support to both missing people and their families
Objective 4: To protect vulnerable missing people and reduce the risks of harm.
Responsibilities of key agencies when responding to missing are summarised as eight commitments that require local and national action:
Commitment 1: Agencies to ensure that prevention planning takes place locally for vulnerable individuals and groups
Commitment 2: Agencies to ensure that people most at risk of going missing are treated as a priority at a local level
Commitment 3: Agencies to exchange proportionate information to ensure that missing people are located quickly
Commitment 4: Agencies to adopt a consistent approach to risk assessment when someone goes missing
Commitment 5: Agencies to hold return discussions with young people and adults after they have been missing
Commitment 6: Agencies to ensure that specialist support is made available to people who have been missing and their families
Commitment 7: Scottish Government to oversee a programme of activity to raise awareness of missing people
Commitment 8: Scottish Government to ensure that risks of harm are highlighted in all training and guidance.